Recipe for peace: Maklubeh (JERUSALEM)

As part of our Recipes for Peace series, each week we feature an inspiring dish to celebrate the varied - and tasty - ways in which food can play a role in building peace.Moshe Basson

This week’s recipe was contributed by Moshe Basson - an award-winning chef who founded The Eucalyptus, one of the most highly acclaimed restaurants in Jerusalem.

Moshe Basson’s chicken maklubeh recipe, or ma'aluba in Arabic (JERUSALEM)

My dish for peace is the traditional casserole recipe of the region I am from in Jerusalem. The ingredients of most casserole recipes become indistinct from one another with their flavours mixing together. However, the maklubeh ingredients keep their distinct characteristics. The different flavours complement each other, but each ingredient also stands on its own and maintains its own unique flavor.

 

For me, this symbolizes ultimate peace. Each participant in peace maintains their individuality and identity, while the combination between them makes a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

 

Ingredients for 6 people

  • 3 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 threads saffron
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 3 medium potatoes, sliced
  • 1 small head cauliflower, separated into florets
  • 1 medium eggplant, quartered and cut into 1/2" thick slices
  • 6 drumsticks and chicken thighs
  • Dash of paprika
  • 2-1/2 cups brown Basmati rice, uncooked

Cooking instructions

  • Sauté potatoes in 1 tablespoon of oil in non-stick pan until lightly golden, but not cooked through. Set aside.
  • Sauté cauliflower in remaining oil. Set aside. In the same pan, sauté eggplant until lightly browned.
  • Place chicken in pot and add saffron, turmeric, thyme, nutmeg and pepper to taste.  Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for an hour, then remove chicken and save the liquid.
  • In large Dutch oven pot, spread tomato and onion along the bottom and arrange chicken over onion layer. Place eggplant slices between chicken pieces. Distribute cauliflower over the top, and then repeat with potato slices.
  • Spread uncooked rice over potatoes. Add broth to cover by one centimeter.
  • Place pot, uncovered, over a medium flame and let liquid simmer 15 minutes.
  • Then cover pot, reduce heat and cook on low for 30 to 45 minutes to cook rice. Add more liquid if needed to keep mixture moist, but be careful not to add so much that rice becomes sticky or risotto-like.
  • Test whether it’s ready by removing the cover and sniffing; when it smells a little burned, it's ready.
  • Take a round metal tray and place on top of the pot. Turn pot over onto tray, patting the top to release chicken. Remove pot or use a large spoon to transfer rice, vegetables and chicken to a platter.

Moshe Basson is Executive Chef and owner of The Eucalyptus, a kosher restaurant in Jerusalem which serves a modern interpretation of biblical cuisine. Moshe’s fascination with using and reinventing indigenous foods led to him being nominated for an honorary ‘Slow Food’ prize.

He is also a founding member of Chefs for Peace - an organisation founded in Jerusalem by a group of Jewish, Christian and Muslim chefs committed to exploring cultural identity, diversity and coexistence through food.

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